Get ready for the “Wow!” moment when the Oberlin High marching band walks out onto the football field this fall, said band director Len Gnizak.
For the first time in 25 years, the group plans to debut new uniforms — dark blue pants, zip-up jackets bearing a red O, and white sleeves swapped for red.
Most uniforms only have a usable life of 12 years, said Gnizak. The lining of current Phoenix jackets has deteriorated after 25 years of use and were carefully stitched and mended over the years to keep them in decent shape as long as possible.
Snap buttons line the leg and arm cuffs of the new threads, making them adjustable in length.
Seventy uniforms were ordered with financial help from the band boosters and the district endowment fund. They each cost $500 — that price includes a raincoat, hat, and full outfit — for a total of cost about $40,000.
Re-using the current hat plumes saved $1,500 and musicians buy their own shoes.
Some students are buying the old uniforms to keep as mementos, while others are being turned into pillows that will be sold to fans as a fundraiser.
“I can see an individual uniform up close, but I’m excited to see what they look like spread out on the field from the stands,” Gnizak said. “I got some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the board members so I knew that we made enough changes for it to be noticeable.”
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.